Most states and territories have now concluded their COVID-19 emergency support measures for residential tenants and have shifted to transitional measures.
The moratorium periods helped to support renters whose finances and employment were hit hard by COVID-19. The measures have meant that many landlords did plenty of heavy lifting to assist those tenants unable to meet their weekly rental obligations.
Moreover, the transitional periods still mean there are restrictions on landlords. The Queensland Government, for example, has extended some COVID-19 arrangements for residential tenancies to 30 April 2021[i]. These apply to all general tenancies and rooming accommodation, including social housing.
In NSW, the moratorium ended on 26 March. However, a six-month transitional period is now in place. This means that COVID-19 impacted tenants who accrued rental arrears between 15 April 2020 and 26 March 2021 can’t be evicted. The NSW Department of Fair Trading will assist in negotiating rental repayment plans between tenants and landlords. Landlords will only be able to evict tenants for arrears if they have first attempted in good faith to negotiate a repayment plan – and then it must be proven that it is fair and reasonable to evict.
In Western Australia, the moratorium ended on 28 March, and the Residential Rent Relief Grant Scheme (RRRGS) is in place to assist tenants struggling to pay expected rent increases because of the state’s tight rental market[ii].
To qualify for this assistance, tenants who are facing a significant rent increase, greater than the normal market rate of 5% a year, can apply, but their landlord must agree to a fixed-term lease of at least six months duration starting from the moratorium end date. This grant is capped at $2,000 per tenancy.
The transition periods and in each state and territory will be different along with the small print. To stay on top of details, contact your local Raine & Horne Property Manager for more information.
To find a suitable rental property, contact your local Raine & Hone Property Manager.